One surprise coming out of Nintendo's E3 presentation was "Mario Maker," a level creation and sharing suite, just a day after Sony revealed "LittleBigPlanet 3."
"Mario Maker" for Wii U will allow players to create their own custom Mario game courses, switching between graphical styles that recall the early "Super Mario Bros." games as well as the more recent look of "New Super Mario Bros."
Budding level layout gurus will be able to place blocks, pipes, platforms and other inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom on a path that runs from starting line to finish flag.
For now, "Mario Maker" appears to be the less nuanced affair, with each stage a flat 3D affair, though the toolset is straightforward, with Nintendo inviting viewers to recreate World 1-1, the iconic first level from 1985 foundation "Super Mario Bros."
Developed under the supervision of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, "Mario Maker" is expected to arrive for Wii U in the first half of 2015 and, in its current form, would appear best suited to distribution as an inexpensive eShop download.
By contrast, PlayStation's "LittleBigPlanet" series has always been built around the idea of getting players to create and share their own content, even leveraging game tools to emulate entirely different genres.
"LittleBigPlanet 3" for PlayStation 4 sees series mascot Sackboy tasked with saving the world from an imagination-sapping baddie but, as ever, the campaign mode's secondary mission is to school players in the art of level creation, encouraging them to come up with their own contraptions, levels and stories.
A whole family of new characters join in for the upcoming entry, with speedy four-legged Oddsock, flighty bird Swoop, and size-shrinking lump Toggle bringing different abilities to bear on each created or curated level.
Announced during Sony's June 9 press conference, "LBP 3" maintains backward compatibility with its two predecessors, bringing over 8.7 million user-created levels to the threequel, with a late 2014 release anticipated.